Sunday, 28 February 2021

Day 349 of self-isolation - New cases down again

New cases down again

Friday's new case number was 7434 - we're back to the numbers last seen at the end of September. Plus, we were given our first dose of the Pfizer vaccine three weeks ago. and nearly 30% of people have had the jab. Things are looking good!

Gibraltar is the first place to get more than 100 vaccinations per 100 people - remember, these vaccines need two jabs.

Not so great across the channel. France has only had 6 jabs per 100 people, and that's partly because their oven-ready President Macron said on 29 January that the AstraZeneca vaccine is "quasi-ineffective" for people over 65. Whatever that means. "The early results we have are not encouraging for 60 to 65-year-old people concerning AstraZeneca".


So then on 2 February, France's Health Authority made an official recommendation that the vaccine should not be used for people over 65. Idiots.

So now Macron said on Thursday he would gladly accept being inoculated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine if it were offered when his turn comes.

Mixed messaging is not a good idea in this situation.

In Germany, there are 1.4 million doses sitting unused; Angela Merkel said that she will refuse the AstraZeneca vaccine. And in Germany, only 7% of the population is vaccinated. In Europe as a whole, 80% of doses haven't been used.

What are they thinking?

Meanwhile, the noise about "Vaccine passports" continues. Should we or shouldn't we?

I already have mine. It was issued by the NHS, says which vaccine, which batch, and the date it was given. But it doesn't call itself a "passport". It's a "record card".



Saturday, 27 February 2021

Day 348 of self-isolation - Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime

I decided to order some Garth Ennis comics; in my opinion, he's the best comics writer today, and has been for many years.

When I went through checkout, there are three options. Two of them sign you up to Prime, but look different, so when I saw one, I clicked on the other. But actually I should have clicked on an option on the other side of the page, which isn't obviously "I want to order but I don't want Prime".

So, I got signed up for Prime.

Fortunately, it's easy to cancel.

  1. Log in to your Amazon account and click ‘your account’
  2. Click ‘your prime membership’
  3. On the left hand side of your screen, click ‘end membership and benefits’
  4. Click ‘I do not want my benefits’
  5. And then you have to reassure it a couple more times "I really mean it" and "I really really mean it". 

 And, at last, I've escaped Prime.

Friday, 26 February 2021

Day 347 of self-isolation - fifteen eight

Fifteen eight

A new low; fifteen stone, eight pounds.

I've complained to the advertising Standards Authority about the MyPillow advert on LBC. The problem is the "Buy one, get one free" claim. They are advertising a "sale", but when something is on "sale" for a very long time, it isn't a sale, it's their standard price. Mypillow are claiming that their standard price is £119.90 for a pillow, and that the "sale" price is £59.95, according to their web site. We#'ll see what happens.

The Covid alert level has been lowered from five to four. The difference is that hospitals are not at material risk of being overwhelmed. This means that we've weathered the latest storm.

Drsolly Towers is still in lock down, and we're planning to stay that way until either the number of new cases is below 2000 per day, or else we both have had our second jab plus three weeks. Because for about a year now, I've been more cautious than our beloved government, from the Cheltenham race meeting, the "eat out to help out" spreader scheme, and (I think) I've been right.

Here's the plan.  March 8, kids back in school; April 12, shops reopen; May 17, hospitality reopens; June 21, we hope, if all things go according to plan, a general reopening. I think that's possible, but we need to watch the numbers as we go along.

Meanwhile, in France, less than six per cent of the population has been vaccinated - 28% in the UK. I really can't understand why France (and Germany, Italy, Spain and so many others) have been so much slower to vaccinate than the UK. Nor can I understand why the people of those countries aren't screaming at their governments to exdigitate.

IRobot have messed up their software, and it will be several weeks before they can fix it. I'm so glad that I failed to buy the iRobot. The Proscenic works fine, and is a third of the price.


Thursday, 25 February 2021

Day 346 of self-isolation - Blood test

Blood test

Every few months, I get a blood test, to check my INR (how runny it is). Today's blood test came up good, and my Warfarin dose is the same.

The hospital was almost deserted.

There was one guy at the entrance, to check that I was masked and he was offering hand sanitiser (which I declined, because you're not supposed to use it before a blood test.

The second hand book library has been closed for a year - I totally understand why, but it's always been the high point of my quarterly hospital visit. At £1 per book, I stock up each time.

There was no-one in the reception, no-one in the corridors, no-one in the waiting room. It was like a ghost hospital. This time last year, it was crowded.

I asked the blood test nurse. It's a combination of, more people are consulting remotely, and the timed appointment system. Previously, I was given a date, but I could turn up any time from 9am to 1pm. Now I'm given an exact time.

And I do have to be there for the blood test.


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Day 345 of self-isolation - Perseverence

The ILIFE W400 has arrived, and I'm calling it "Perseverence", after the Mars rover.  Percy for short.  
Unboxing and assembly was easy. It was already assembled. The wall power unit used European pins, which I guess is why I got the thing at a 20% discount, but that just means it has to use a plug adaptor - no problem.
I filled the clean water tank, and released Percy into the utility room.  He trundled up and down in a systematic way, and covered the whole area. I poured out the small amount of dirty water, which was nice because it shows that he's picking up the dirt, and not just moving it around.
So then I released him into the hall. We have a big thick rug there, and I really didn't want that to be mopped. It wasn't mopped - Percy bumped the rug and didn't try to climb onto it. That's good, because Bridget do climb onto the rug and vacuums it. Because the rug is black, it shows every bit of debris, but after Bridget has vacuumed it, it's clean.
Percy leaves a lot of shallow puddles behind.
Although it does a lot better if you remember to put the plug in the dirty water tank. 

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Day 344 of self-isolation - The environment is changing

The environment is changing

Vaccination is changing the environment for the virus. And a change in the environment, leads to evolutionary pressure. The evolutionary pressure is going to be to resist the vaccine.

It hasn't happened yet. But it will. We've seen this with antibiotics - they slowly lose their ability to kill bacteria, because the bacteria evolve resistance.

Right now, there are two hundred million billion virus particles floating around (that's a quarter of a pint - they are really really small). And their only objective is to make more copies of themselves. But the copying process isn't quite perfect. Mistakes happen. Some mistakes mean that the copy isn't viable, some mistakes make the copy less infectious, some make it more infections. Evolutionary selection is for more infectious.

Some people don't believe that evolution happens. And some people believe that the world is flat.

The probability of a mutation that would evade the vaccines, is really really small. But there's a lot of virus particles, and the longer there's a lot, the more time there is for a vaccine-resistant mutation to occur.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Day 343 of self-isolation - Another gallon

Another gallon

I just bought another gallon of alcohol. It isn't for drinking.

Ever since this started, we've been disinfecting. I had about a gallon of hand sanitiser, bought a few years ago for hand sanitising. Because when you're in the middle of nowhere with filthy hands, that's a good way to clean them. And everything that comes into the house, I've been spraying with this (or leaving it for three days). And I'm running out, I'm down to the last litre.

So I bought a five litre container of 80% alcohol (80% is actually more effective than 100%) for £15, which is a really good price.

I'll use it to refill the 500 ml bottles (5 litres is really unwieldy). From these, I refill the spray bottles. Each grocery delivery needs one of those bottles to spray it and (hopefully) kill all bacteria and viruses.

That's the theory.

I don't know if it's actually worked, but the fact that we haven't got Covid has to be a good sign.